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Saṁyutta Nikāya — The Connected Discourses

SN22: Connected Discourses on the Aggregates

SN22:62 Pathways of Language

1At Sāvatthī. "Bhikkhus, there are these three pathways of language, pathways of designation, pathways of description,[n.95] Niruttipathā adhivacanapathā paññattipathā. Spk: Language (nirutti, linguistic expression) is itself the pathway of language; or alternatively, language is called the pathway of language because it is the pathway for the communication of meanings to be understood through language. The other two terms should be understood in the same way; the three are synonyms.
Dhs §§1306–8 distinguishes between nirutti, adhivacana, and paññatti on the one hand, and their respective patha on the other. There nirutti and the other two are treated as synonymous, but their respective patha are said to comprise all phenomena (sabb’ eva dhammā). At DN II 63,28–64,2, name-and-form together with consciousness is said to be adhivacanapatha, niruttipatha, paññattipatha. On the basis of these texts it seems that Spk has gone astray here, and we should understand that the three pathways of language, etc., are the five aggregates pertaining to the three time periods, and the corresponding temporal "term, label, description" applied to them is "language, designation, description."

The sutta is quoted at Kv 150 as support for the Theravadin argument against the Sarvastivadins, who held that past and future phenomena exist in some way.
that are unmixed, that were never mixed, that are not being mixed, that will not be mixed, that are not rejected by wise ascetics and brahmins. What three?

"Whatever form, bhikkhus, has passed, ceased, changed: the term, label, and description ‘was’ applies to it, not the term ‘is’ or the term ‘will be.’


2–4"Whatever feeling … Whatever perception … Whatever volitional formations … sn.iii.72 Whatever consciousness has passed, ceased, changed: the term, label, and description ‘was’ applies to it, not the term ‘is’ or the term ‘will be.’


5"Whatever form, bhikkhus, has not been born, has not become manifest: the term, label, and description ‘will be’ applies to it, not the term ‘is’ or the term ‘was.’


6–8"Whatever feeling … Whatever perception … Whatever volitional formations … Whatever consciousness has not been born, has not become manifest: the term, label, and description ‘will be’ applies to it, not the term ‘is’ or the term ‘was.’


9"Whatever form, bhikkhus, has been born, has become manifest: the term, label, and description ‘is’ applies to it, not the term ‘was’ or the term ‘will be.’


10–12"Whatever feeling … Whatever perception … Whatever volitional formations … Whatever consciousness has been born, has become manifest: the term, label, and description ‘is’ applies to it, not the term ‘was’ or the term ‘will be.’


13"These, bhikkhus, are the three pathways of language, pathways of designation, pathways of description, that are unmixed, that were never mixed, that are not being mixed, sn.iii.73 that will not be mixed, that are not rejected by wise ascetics and brahmins.

"Bhikkhus, even Vassa and Bañña of Ukkala, proponents of noncausality, of the inefficacy of action, and of nihilism, did not think that these three pathways of language, pathways of designation, pathways of description should be criticized or scorned. For what reason? Because they fear blame, attack, and condemnation." [n.96] Spk explains ukkala as residents of the country of Ukkala (also called Okkala, according to CPD corresponding to modern Orissa). Spk treats vasabhaññā as a dvanda, vasso ca bhañño ca, and explains that the two held the three wrong views found at 24:5–7. I read the last expression with Se and Ee, nindabyārosa-uparambhabhayā. Be includes an additional term in the second place, ghaṭṭana, not found in the other eds. See the parallel at MN III 78,12–16, which reads as Se and Ee do here. In Spk, ghaṭṭana is the gloss on byārosa, which Be apparently has absorbed into the text.


1Sāvatthinidānaṁ. "Tayome, bhikkhave, niruttipathā adhivacanapathā paññattipathā asaṅkiṇṇā asaṅkiṇṇapubbā, na saṅkīyanti, na saṅkīyissanti, appaṭikuṭṭhā samaṇehi brāhmaṇehi viññūhi. Katame tayo?

Yaṁ, bhikkhave, rūpaṁ atītaṁ niruddhaṁ vipariṇataṁ ‘ahosī’ti tassa saṅkhā, ‘ahosī’ti tassa samaññā, ‘ahosī’ti tassa paññatti; na tassa saṅkhā ‘atthī’ti, na tassa saṅkhā ‘bhavissatī’ti.


2Yā vedanā atītā niruddhā vipariṇatā ‘ahosī’ti tassā saṅkhā, ‘ahosī’ti tassā samaññā, ‘ahosī’ti tassā paññatti; na tassā saṅkhā ‘atthī’ti, na tassā saṅkhā ‘bhavissatī’ti.

3Yā saññā … ye saṅkhārā atītā niruddhā vipariṇatā ‘ahesun’ti tesaṁ saṅkhā, ‘ahesun’ti tesaṁ samaññā, ‘ahesun’ti tesaṁ paññatti; na tesaṁ saṅkhā ‘atthī’ti, na tesaṁ saṅkhā ‘bhavissantī’ti.

4Yaṁ viññāṇaṁ atītaṁ niruddhaṁ vipariṇataṁ, ‘ahosī’ti tassa saṅkhā, ‘ahosī’ti tassa samaññā, ‘ahosī’ti tassa paññatti; na tassa saṅkhā ‘atthī’ti, na tassa saṅkhā ‘bhavissatī’ti.


5Yaṁ, bhikkhave, rūpaṁ ajātaṁ apātubhūtaṁ, ‘bhavissatī’ti tassa saṅkhā, ‘bhavissatī’ti tassa samaññā, ‘bhavissatī’ti tassa paññatti; na tassa saṅkhā ‘atthī’ti, na tassa saṅkhā ‘ahosī’ti.


6Yā vedanā ajātā apātubhūtā, ‘bhavissatī’ti tassā saṅkhā, ‘bhavissatī’ti tassā samaññā, ‘bhavissatī’ti tassā paññatti; na tassā saṅkhā ‘atthī’ti, na tassā saṅkhā ‘ahosī’ti.

7Yā saññā … ye saṅkhārā ajātā apātubhūtā, ‘bhavissantī’ti tesaṁ saṅkhā, ‘bhavissantī’ti tesaṁ samaññā, ‘bhavissantī’ti tesaṁ paññatti; na tesaṁ saṅkhā ‘atthī’ti, na tesaṁ saṅkhā ‘ahesun’ti.

8Yaṁ viññāṇaṁ ajātaṁ apātubhūtaṁ, ‘bhavissatī’ti tassa saṅkhā, ‘bhavissatī’ti tassa samaññā, ‘bhavissatī’ti tassa paññatti; na tassa saṅkhā ‘atthī’ti, na tassa saṅkhā ‘ahosī’ti.


9Yaṁ, bhikkhave, rūpaṁ jātaṁ pātubhūtaṁ, ‘atthī’ti tassa saṅkhā, ‘atthī’ti tassa samaññā, ‘atthī’ti tassa paññatti; na tassa saṅkhā ‘ahosī’ti, na tassa saṅkhā ‘bhavissatī’ti.


10Yā vedanā jātā pātubhūtā, ‘atthī’ti tassā saṅkhā, ‘atthī’ti tassā samaññā, ‘atthī’ti tassā paññatti; na tassā saṅkhā ‘ahosī’ti, na tassā saṅkhā ‘bhavissatī’ti.

11Yā saññā … ye saṅkhārā jātā pātubhūtā, ‘atthī’ti tesaṁ saṅkhā, ‘atthī’ti tesaṁ samaññā, ‘atthī’ti tesaṁ paññatti; na tesaṁ saṅkhā ‘ahesun’ti, na tesaṁ saṅkhā, ‘bhavissantī’ti.

12Yaṁ viññāṇaṁ jātaṁ pātubhūtaṁ, ‘atthī’ti tassa saṅkhā, ‘atthī’ti tassa samaññā, ‘atthī’ti tassa paññatti; na tassa saṅkhā ‘ahosī’ti, na tassa saṅkhā ‘bhavissatī’ti.


13Ime kho, bhikkhave, tayo niruttipathā adhivacanapathā paññattipathā asaṅkiṇṇā asaṅkiṇṇapubbā, na saṅkīyanti, na saṅkīyissanti, appaṭikuṭṭhā samaṇehi brāhmaṇehi viññūhi.

Yepi te, bhikkhave, ahesuṁ ukkalā vassabhaññā ahetukavādā akiriyavādā natthikavādā, tepime tayo niruttipathe adhivacanapathe paññattipathe na garahitabbaṁ nappaṭikkositabbaṁ amaññiṁsu. Taṁ kissa hetu? Nindāghaṭṭanabyārosaupārambhabhayā"ti.


Majjhimapaṇṇāsakassa upayavaggo paṭhamo.

14Upayo bījaṁ udānaṁ,
Upādānaparivattaṁ;
Sattaṭṭhānañca sambuddho,
Pañcamahāli ādittā;
Vaggo niruttipathena cāti.